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Castle Street Police Station

A Grade II Listed Building in Tonge with the Haulgh, Bolton

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Latitude: 53.5781 / 53°34'41"N

Longitude: -2.4184 / 2°25'6"W

OS Eastings: 372392

OS Northings: 409141

OS Grid: SD723091

Mapcode National: GBR CWK2.62

Mapcode Global: WH97V.TBK8

Plus Code: 9C5VHHHJ+7J

Entry Name: Castle Street Police Station

Listing Date: 1 February 2007

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1391873

English Heritage Legacy ID: 502564

Location: Bolton, BL2

County: Bolton

Electoral Ward/Division: Tonge with the Haulgh

Built-Up Area: Bolton

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater Manchester

Church of England Parish: Bolton-le-Moors St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Manchester

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797-1/0/10030 CASTLE STREET
01-FEB-07 The Haulgh
Castle Street Police Station

Purpose-built combined law court and police station, originally known as Bolton County Police Court, 1876, by Henry Littler, mellow red brick, English Bond, stone dressings, shallow hipped and gabled slate roof, modillion eaves cornice with decorative dentilled brick band beneath, 2 storey, main building with complex J-shaped plan, outbuildings and enclosed yard to rear.

EXTERIOR: Main building of 3 blocks in J-shaped plan. Bordered to front by Castle Street, Court Street to NW side, May Street to SE side and an unnamed lane to the SW rear. 2-over-2 and multi-pane sashes, slender casements, mullion and transomed windows. Cast-iron downpipes. NE front/Castle Street elevation: 11 bays long. Bays to each end project forward (1 & 11), bays 2 & 10 with slightly lower roofline. Central section of 7 bays with projecting central gabled bay. Gabled bay has 10-light mullion and transomed window to ground floor, continuous hoodmould above, 6-light mullion and transomed window flanked by 2 lower casements to first floor, returns to each side with similar style single windows, quoined surrounds, lettering between ground and first floor windows reads 'COUNTY POLICE STATION' interspersed with red roses of Lancashire. Main entrance (for use of justices') in 7th bay from left with stone surround incorporating carved relief depicting arms of County Palatine. Two small windows to first floor. Ground floor sash window to 5th bay with stone surround incorporating square relief depicting chains of justice and date '1876' with single narrow window to first floor. Sashes to ground and first floors with large tripartite window to ground floor of 11th bay. SE side (May Street) elevation (originally sergeant's and constables' accommodation): 3 irregular bays, hipped roof. Sash window to left, central window with hood above, 2-light bay window to right, three windows to first floor with narrower central window, replaced casement to first floor, sashes and fixed lights to both floors. NW side (Court Street) elevation: 3 ground floor bays with central entrance door, rectangular light and hood above, sashes to both floors. High, stepped, curved brick wall (enclosing a small yard) with timber and iron spiked gate projects out and links to 2-storey block set at right angle to Court Street. NW end elevation with entrance door, square relief above reading 'PUBLIC ENTRANCE', two rose motifs, hoodmould with carved rose stops, large sash window above, smaller one to top left corner. Door provided public access into first floor courtroom in block behind. NE yard elevation with central gable and sashes to both floors. SW rear yard elevation with later single storey and low 2 storey extensions to W end, tall slender fixed light window, doorway and 2 sashes to ground floor, 3 sashes to first floor, rooflight, chimney stack to ridge. Court/cell block: 2-storey, attached at right angle to centre rear of main Castle Street block and SE end elevation of public entrance block, gableted roof, pitched skylight to centre. Ground floor cell area with 4 small cambered windows with iron bar glazing to SE side, adjacent doorway with cambered head to N end, small outshut with SE facing door and NE facing window, tall external stack, recessed doorway with cambered stone lintel, 2 sashes and wide 3-light multi-pane iron bar window to SW rear elevation. First floor courtroom with double-height brick-arched windows with multi-pane sashes (4 to SE side, 2 to NW side, 3 blind windows to SW rear).
High brick wall attached to main building, timber gates with spiked tops enclose large rear yard used for drill purposes by the police and Duke of Lancaster's Own Yeomanry Cavalry. Single storey outbuilding to SE side of yard, back wall forms part of enclosing wall, later chimney stack, plank door to NE end elevation, 2 windows to SE wall elevation, 4 similar doors, 3 window openings to inner yard elevation, 2 blocked-up window openings to SW rear elevation. Long single storey carriage/vehicle garage range with 2-storey stable block to SW side of yard, ridge stack, back walls of range form rear enclosing wall to yard.

INTERIOR: High level of survival. Original plan form intact but some rooms partitioned for modern office space, fireplaces removed. 4-panel doors, moulded architraves to doors and windows, moulded cornicing to some rooms and corridors to both floors, built-in cupboards, tiled flooring to some ground floor areas. Ground and first floor of Castle Street block used as police station and police residence, various rooms and offices off corridors to left and right of main entrance hall, similar layout to first floor. Main entrance hall with double door to Castle Street, 2 glazed upper panels to each door, cusped heads, quatrefoil motifs, solid lower panels with parquet decoration, plain terracotta tiled floor. Inner lobby double door with upper glazed panels, geometric tracery, solid lower panels with incised chevron design, glazed and panelled surround in same style. Door to left of hall with enquiries hatch, large office behind (former charge room), partition walls to SW side. Door to right of hall into corridor, offices and Court Street secondary entrance (replaced door). Originally Superintendent's house and office. Timber dog-leg stair (for police and court clerks' use) to left of corridor, turned balusters, wall string, carved brackets, leads to first floor lobby/room with panelled entrance door into courtroom (also accessed from main stair half-landing). Door to SE corner of hall into corridor, offices and cells (cell entrance door originally part of charge room but room partitioned to create corridor). Main open-well cantilevered concrete stair (for justices' use) to SW corner of entrance hall, timber handrail, partial iron-twist newel post, ornate wrought iron balustrade incorporating trefoil and floral designs, leads to first floor large landing, wide panelled door into justices' room, skylight lights stairwell. Justices' room: IN gabled bay to centre of building fronting Castle Street, raised ceiling with decorative geometric panels to centre, deep moulded cornicing, large cross beam behind projecting main windows supported on decorative carved brackets, original oak bench seating with high fixed backs incorporating shelving to SW wall, short timber stair between benches rises to wide panelled door leading into courtroom, door in SE wall leads to further rooms including bathrooms and another plain dog-leg stair. Courtroom: Double-height, open to roof, series of queen post trusses with additional vertical and diagonal struts, deep brackets, balustrading above tie beams, large pitched skylight to centre. Pitch pine fittings and fixtures include central dock with 2 compartments and concrete stair down into cells below, raised judicial bench to front of court with slightly elevated central place for chairman (justices' doorway to NE corner behind), court clerks' desk in front of and below (entrance doorway to NW corner), advocates seating below, witness box to NW side, two jury boxes to SE side (both facing inwards) also used by defendants and sergeants with enclosed jury stair leading to ground floor and rear yard, public gallery to rear with shallow tiered bench seating with iron legs, iron balustrade, public entrance to adjacent SW corner. Cell area: Beneath courtroom, originally 8 cells, wide brick-vaulted corridor, cement floor, iron gates to NE end, 1 cell to NW side (2 further cells knocked through to create storage room, one doorway blocked up, one with replaced door), 4 cells to SE side; one with door in short corridor to left containing door into yard through which prisoners would be transferred, iron gated walkway to NW side of main corridor leads up into dock. Cells retain original iron-lined metal doors with hatches, high set multi-paned barred windows, stone tile floor; some also with original wooden bunks. Court Street block: Enclosed stair rising to courtroom, rooms to left on ground and first floor possibly originally used as accommodation for constable in charge of cells.

HISTORY: The purpose-built Bolton County Police Court (later Castle Street Police Station) was opened on Castle Street in The Haulgh, Bolton on November 6th 1876. Prior to this the County Magistrates held a County (Quarter) Sessions court at Little Bolton Town Hall until the premises became too small and unsuitable for their increased caseload. The new premises cost £7000 and were constructed by Messrs. Watts of Miles Platting to the designs of Henry Littler of Manchester. Littler was the county architect for Lancashire and also architect to the Lancashire Asylums Board.
At the time of the building's opening The Haulgh was semi-rural and there were no proper access roads. However, within a couple of years Castle Street and the other adjacent roads were built and houses quickly sprung up around the court building.
Along with the court the building was home to the Bolton Division of the County Police Force (later part of Greater Manchester Police). The court had been used for both summary and capital justice (unlike most Police Courts that just dealt with summary justice/petty sessions). Following The Courts Act of 1971, which abolished Assizes and Quarter Sessions and replaced them with the Crown Court, suitable former Assizes and Quarter Sessions buildings became Crown Courts, Magistrates Courts or became redundant. The magistrates remained at Castle Street until c.1974 when they relocated to Bolton Magistrates Court and the building was taken over completely by Greater Manchester Police. Since the court's closure in c.1974 it was used as a police briefing and training room. The police station was closed to the public in the 1980s/90s but remained in active use by the police traffic and scenes of crime units until September 2006 when the police relocated to a new building.

Brodie A, Winter G & Porter S. 2000. 'The Law Court 1800-2000: Developments in form and function'. Unpublished English Heritage report.
Newspaper articles:
The Bolton Journal September 9 1876, 'New County Sessions Premises in Haulgh'.
Bolton Journal & Guardian Friday March 27 1936, 'Bolton's Notable Buildings'.

SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE: Castle Street Police Station, formerly Bolton County Police Court and dating to 1876, is of special architectural and historic interest as a distinctive and well-preserved example of a purpose-built, mid-late C19 combined law court and police station that unusually dealt with both summary and capital justice.
Having ceased active use in September 2006 (the court in c.1974) the building is relatively unaltered since its original construction with many original features having been retained including 4-panel doors, sash and casement windows, cornicing, the ornate main stair used by the justices', and secondary stairs for the use of clerks and the police. Of particular note is the survival of the impressive large first floor courtroom with its distinctive roof structure and intact original plan form and fixtures including a central dock, justices' bench, court clerks' desk, witness box, jury boxes and public gallery. The survival of the cell area beneath is also of note with its brick vaulted ceilings, and complete cells with metal doors and hatches, high barred windows and several with their original wooden bunks.
Internal space division separating the prisoner, public, justices', jury, and police, and the latter's accommodation is also clearly readable, and externally through the use of separate entrances.
In its little altered state, and also with the survival of its original enclosing yard walls, gates and outbuildings including former stabling and vehicle garaging, Castle Street Police Station is clearly of national interest.

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